Whit Babcock: "We have a plan"

Yesterday, I watched new Athletic Director Whit Babcock win his 40-ish minute press conference on the future of the men's basketball program. That's the last time I'll prefix "new" to his title, even though his appointment as AD began on March 1st. After firing James Johnson, Whit's sleeves are already rolled as he searches for Virginia Tech's next basketball coach.

Even though he was engaging with the media, it felt as if he was speaking directly to the fans. Without divulging specifics and compromising the search, Whit did an excellent job of outlining the process, expectations, and possible outcomes. If you're considering investing in the program, i.e. donating to the Hokie Club, his candidness, forthrightness, and transparency has to make you feel better about stroking a check. The honesty from up top during this period of transition is refreshing.

The CliffsNotes are as follows:

2014 Spring Football Lookahead: Offensive Line

Despite winter's last ditch attempt to keep its bitter grip on the weather, spring football is just around the corner. Virginia Tech begins spring practice on March 27th, with the practice sessions culminating with the Maroon–White Game at 2:00 PM on Saturday, April 26th. In the weeks leading up to the game, I will take a short break from the Class of 2014 First Look series to preview position battles critical for any potential return to Charlotte for the ACC Championship Game. A successful season requires continued improvement on the offensive line. Coach Jeff Grimes left Blacksburg for LSU in the offseason, and Coach Stacy Searels has been hired build on the solid foundation that Grimes put in place.

James Johnson Fired

HokieSports.com announced James Johnson was released as men's basketball coach. The following statement is from new Athletic Director Whit Babcock.

"I want to thank Coach Johnson for his dedication and hard work for our university and our basketball program over the past seven years," Babcock said. "A change of this significance affects many people and is never taken lightly, but I felt a change and a new direction was necessary for the long term, best interest of our department."

Johnson took over a program that had been gutted, and was in need of a rebuild. However, he could only muster 6 ACC wins in two seasons of play.

Versatility Brings Out the Best in Stone Bridge's Tanner Karafa

At the end of his junior season, 6-foot-3 tight end Tanner Karafa earned new responsibilities.

When Ashburn's Stone Bridge High School lost a linebacker due to injury in the playoffs, Karafa got the call.

There wasn't much time to learn how to play outside linebacker.

"We put him on the edge and told him to go get the football," Bulldogs Coach Mickey Thompson said. "He came up with a lot of amazing plays, but didn't know how to make many reads.

"You can't just go to linebacker and play."

Happy Birthday, Thekeyplay.com!

Four years ago today, the website went live online. What began as a humble hobby has grown into a small business, but more importantly a thriving online community.

I've said it a billion times before, but you, the readers and posters, are second to none. Word of mouth, especially on social media, was crucial for our growth. Over the last four years you denizens of our virtual space have cultivated a special place for intelligent discussion of football and all things Virginia Tech, while understanding the former is not that serious a topic of discussion. That is a rare occurrence for a sports website. So thank you!

Catching Up with 2015 Commitment DuWayne Johnson

Last Sunday evening I spoke with 6-1, 160 pound H.D. Woodson defensive back DuWayne Johnson. Johnson committed to the Hokies on February 8th while attending a Virginia Tech junior day event.

Although, he didn't intend on giving his verbal while on the trip. "When I went down there, I had no idea... I didn't plan on committing when I was in town. It just happened."